In the footsteps of Brother Charles

08/01/2008 - 08:13

Beni Abbès

Camels carry our lugggageCamels carry our lugggage Our encampmentOur encampment

This was the starting-point for two nights spent under the stars in the desert, the transporting of our luggage, by camel, and the cooking of our meals organized by Kheima, a local association dedicated to preserving the bedouin way of life.

Chapel at Béni-AbbésChapel at Béni-Abbés

At either end of our expedition we had the joy of celebrating Mass in the chapel of Br. Charles’s hermitage, that familiar narrow building where the eye is led to the picture of Christ in glory above the altar. We also met the Little Brothers of the Gospel, who live in the hermitage, and the Little Sisters of Jesus, whose fraternity is just across the way. Both communities showed us round their gardens.

When Br. Charles arrived in Beni Abbès in 1901, the population consisted of a few families augmented by passing nomads. Today, 12,000 people live there and the town is creeping across the escarpment towards the once isolated hermitage.